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Protecting Your Home
The majority of crime involving students is as a DIRECT result of students not taking simple precautions; for instance leaving front or back doors open, not just unlocked, but OPEN!
Burglars travel from far and wide to Selly Oak; we know this because they know that students make it easy for them.
You may think that if you lost a possession such as your laptop in a burglary, that you would be able to get it back on your insurance. This may be true, but what about the impact of losing all of your work, or even your dissertation?
Keep your house and those living in it safe by following these handy top tips.
Advertising you last night out with posters in the window may be good for kudos, but unfortunately they send out the message ‘we are a student house – loads of things to steal’! Keep your windows free of posters and obvious signs that it is a student house.
Lock your windows and doors – even if you are leaving the house or your room for just a few minutes. 85% of break-ins are by someone simply walking in; the vast majority being by opportunists who simply check to see if doors or windows are open. On average this takes only a minute or two, easy to avoid by following this tip.
Establish a routine for ensuring doors are locked properly. Many doors (especially pull up handle UPVC) need to be locked with a key when you leave your home. They do not automatically lock when pulled shut. Even when at home, make it a habit to lock the doors.
Lock your side gate – if you don’t have a key for your gate, please contact your landlord/agent or the Community Wardens. Burglars exploit open side gates as this gives access to the rear of a number of properties, where they are often unseen.
Timer switch – use a timer switch to put a light on if you’re out. If the house has a light on when it’s dark outside, then this can deter a burglar as it leads them to think someone is home. You can get free timer switches from your Community Wardens.
If you have a burglar alarm, then make sure you use it. If you don’t then you could invalidate your contents insurance. (The alarm pin number should have been given to you on collection if your keys, but if you don’t have it then please contact your landlord/agent).
Laptop sat on your desk? Ipod on the windowsill? Car keys in full view? Such items are an invitation and easy pickings for a burglar. Keep valuable items out of sight - put them in a drawer or wardrobe, or hide them under the bed.
Register your valuables with
You can register your property for free and if stolen assists the police in getting it back to its rightful owner.
Get LoJack loaded onto your computer – a tracking device that will lead the police to your laptop if stolen. Contact the Community Wardens if you wish to get this technology installed.
Don’t leave your keys under a mat or dangling on the inside of a letterbox. The oldest tricks in the book are easier for the burglars to figure out!
Be mindful of people requesting entry into your house. Some ‘distraction’ burglars claim to offer a service under false pretences to steal your valuables. Don’t be afraid to ask for ID and if you are unsure, then ask the landlord/agent to see if they have sent the person who is calling.
Be aware of door to door sales. Some companies knock soon after you have moved in, offering your various items and/or deals and can sometimes be quite pushy. Use your common sense and don’t hand over any bank or personal details. Read over any information you are given and insist you are given time to consult your other housemates.
Selly Watch helps keep you one step ahead of a burglar, by letting you know what’s happening in your area.
Despite students being more prepared for living in the private rental sector, you are still more prone to burglary than other sets of people. The very nature of student living lends itself perfectly to burglary, as there is often poor quality security, a lack of vigilance and empty houses in the evenings and at vacation time. Students can sometimes be targeted as they often have valuable items such as laptops, televisions, phones and iPod’s. Commonly there are multiple students living in one house and one area, making you an attractive target to burglars.
1 in 3 students will be a victim of crime during their time at university
(half of which crimes being burglary or theft), yet
71% of students say they are not concerned by crime
The Selly Watch scheme will provide Selly Oak residents with the knowledge and awareness to ensure you remain safe and can enjoy your time at university crime free. The Selly Watch website gives you all the information, contacts, facts and figures about crime in Selly Oak, how to prevent it and what to do if you’re a victim. You can also sign up
to the free Selly Watch text service that will update you on any alerts relevant to you.
At certain times in the past decade Bournbrook has suffered over three times the regional rate for burglary. Whilst this situation is improving, be aware of what’s happening – sign up to Selly Watch.
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Guild of Students, University of Birmingham